Pap Smears & Cervical Cancer Screening
The gynecologists and nurse practitioners at Carolina OB/GYN in Rock Hill, SC, perform pap smears and cervical cancer screenings in a clean and comfortable environment. We recommend undergoing this simple test on a regular basis to remain proactive about your reproductive health. Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment.
What is a Pap Smear?
During a pelvic exam, a pap smear may be performed in order to screen for cervical cancer. This test is simple, safe, and only takes a few minutes to complete. Generally starting at age 21, having a pap smear is recommended every three years. In some instances, it may be beneficial to undergo pap testing more frequently. Reasons for this may be due to a cervical cancer diagnosis, HIV infection, or a weakened immune system. As your health care provider, we work closely with you to recommend a pap smear schedule that fits your needs and lifestyle.
How is a Pap Smear Performed?
You will lie down on the exam table with your knees bent and your heels in the support stirrups. A speculum will be gently placed into your vagina to hold it open. You may feel pressure, but you should not feel any pain. From there we insert a swab to take samples of your cervical cells. After your pap smear you can continue on with your day. The collected cells are examined in a laboratory. If there are any indications concern such as the presence of abnormal cells, we will notify you immediately so the next steps can be formulated. Further testing may be required which will be discussed with you in person.
How Else Can You Test for Cervical Cancer?
An HPV test is another screening test used to detect cervical cancer. It is performed in the same manner as a pap smear and sometimes in tandem, but the cells are specifically tested for HPV, or human papillomavirus. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Many people contract it and transfer it without even knowing it. There are over 100 different types of HPV and while some do not cause any health problems, others can become cervical cancer if left untreated.
When Can I Stop Having Pap Smears?
You may wonder when you can stop having pap smears all-together. The answer varies from person to person, but generally there are two situations in which it may make sense to forgo routine pap smears:
- If you have undergone a complete hysterectomy for a noncancerous condition.
- If you are older than 65, have consistently tested negative for cervical cancer, and are not engaging in sexual activities with multiple partners.
Schedule an Appointment
Screening tests are integral to the prevention and detection of cervical cancer. Call our office to schedule an appointment. Our dedicated physicians and staff have the knowledge and training to help you to be proactive about your health.